Feb 28 - Mar 6, 2011

Pakistan which is a net producer of over 6 million tons of quality rice has an excellent opportunity of showing a host of varieties of rice at the first international rice exhibition and conference being held in Dubai in the second week of May 2011.

The Basmati Rice is bound to attract the world buyers at the first international rice conference and exhibition being held in Dubai on May 9-11 this year.

Dr. Faisal Ali Mousa, the organizer of the global event, recently visited Pakistan to explore trade development, investment, and joint venture opportunities with Pakistani counterparts, besides attracting commercial exporters to participate in the rice exhibition where the rice buyers as well as producers have confirmed their participation in the conference as well as exhibition.

Dr. Mousa while talking to PAGE said that this international platform would be an excellent opportunity for the rice exporters from Pakistan. His own company was in negotiation with Pakistani rice exporters and producers to import rice worth $200 million in next two months.

Dr. Mousa, who is the chairman of the organizer company Ideal Idea Event Management while giving background of the forthcoming international rice event, said that business houses from all over the world would make it a mega event.

Since Pakistan is the home of the world's famous rice varieties like basmati and other rice, the public and private stake holders including Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan and Trade Development Authority of Pakistan are taking serious interest to grab the exposition opportunity.

Representing one of the largest business groups in UAE as a household name in construction, furniture and steel fabrication and real estate and developer, Dr. Faisal Ali Mousa was accompanied with Asad Sajjad, Chief of Global Exhibition and Marketing organization.

According to Dr. Faisal, more than 60 countries will be participating in the exhibition and conference which would certainly help identifying new market opportunities, gain market intelligence and find new channels to market products. He said that trade enquiries from buying nations such as Qatar, Saudi Arab, Philippines, Nigeria, Iran, Iraq, Senegal, Malaysia, Yemen, Syria, Kuwait, Oman, Jordan, Russia, Cambodia, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Libya, Bahrain have already started pouring in. These enquiries will be canalized to the exhibitors for their business prosperity.

It will not be out of place to mention that UAE has been the top global re-exporter of rice over the past five years. The value of rice re-exported from UAE increased from $122 million in 2005 to $519 million in 2009 while the quantity of rice imports to the UAE crossed over 1.238 million tons mark in 2009. The United States of America is the second largest importer of rice in 2009 where UAE re-exported rice worth $11.5 million following Hong Kong where the rice was exported worth $ 11 million. The value of re-exported rice in all three countries reached approximately $541 million and constituted 97 percent of the overall value of UAE's re-exports in 2009.

In fact, UAE is considered as one of the top five global importers of rice. UAE becomes second largest importer with rice imports crossing $1.248 billion mark constituting 8.8 percent of all global imports of the commodity.

Dr. Faisal said that UAE relies on three main countries for 99 percent of its rice imports, which include India from where the import of rice registered at present 72 percent, Pakistan 21 per cent, and Thailand six percent. These three countries were however considered as the leading global rice exporters.

When pointed out that since Pakistan is one of the major producers of construction materials like cement, marble, steel and wood work, ceramics and sanitary items what are the prospects of imports of these items from Pakistan by his group, which is so far dealing with Indian exporters.

Dr. Faisal said he was visiting Pakistan with the focus to look into business opportunities in Pakistan. Besides, importing different items his group was keen to go into join ventures with different segments of the economy especially in respect of construction material as well as food items.

Highlighting the significance of the rice conference and exhibition, Dr. Faisal said that a recent study conducted by the ministry of foreign trade, UAE has revealed that emirates has been the top global re-exporter of rice over the past five years.

The study revealed that UAE's economic policy based on free market principles has aimed at benefiting from the international food commodities market in many ways such as acquisition of strategic food items to guarantee domestic economic security goals and to achieve a food surplus for stability of local markets.

The policy also added a new dimension to the equation through making the UAE with its superior re-export logistical capability, a pivotal transit point between producing and consuming regions.

CONCLUSION: Dubai 2011 International Rice Conference is the first and largest industry event in the region to promote export of rice and related products. This unique and strategic platform hopefully may be used by Pakistani exporters with a goal to add new colors to rice exports, which earned Pakistan $2 billion last fiscal 2010. It is the time for Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) to make good use of the event and exploit it purposefully to find new export destinations for this cash crop.